Considering works by Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Dan Colen, Botticelli and others, Martin Mugar examines the differences between materiality and transcendence in painting.
Mugar writes that works such as Richter's abstract paintings "risk and do at times descend into pure materiality. This embrace of the material results in what I would call art that is 'time poor.' ... It appears that Richter wants to stop time to impress one event on the viewer to such a degree that it eliminates any consideration of what came before or after... Gone is the role of the imagination, which might evoke memory, or the role of symbols that could point to an inner structure of consciousness that shapes the present." On the other hand, Mugar continues, in paintings such as Botticelli's Birth of Venus "the goal was to get beyond [to] (transcend)... This transcendence was not achieved through an act of will but by knowing the right prayers or alchemical formulas or in the case of art to use the right proportions, colors and geometrical shapes."
Patkin writes: "The No Title Required series is one of Ryman’s largest multi panel works, continuing his investigations into the relationship between non-identical panels, and presenting a further investigation into the relationship between panels. Subtly shifting layers of high-gloss enamel white along the picture plane are framed by blue paint, that extends out and around the support. Creating bizarre conflations of perception as the viewer moves along the work, Ryman’s pieces are subtle inquiries into ideas of continuation and space, creating tacit links between works that are almost completely devoid of any mark."
David Rhodes reviews the exhibition Jo Baer at Museum Ludwig, Cologne, on view through August 25, 2013.
Rhodes writes: "This summer’s exhibition at the Museum Ludwig was originally conceived as a presentation of Baer’s minimalist works and was later expanded to cover the artist’s entire output, with an emphasis on early drawings. As a result, links and ruptures, continuities and turns in her creative path can now be traced and appreciated fully, as can the beauty and clarity of each individual work. Baer’s endeavor has always been concerned with painting––and not with fashions and movements––which has led to some historical misunderstanding of her work, righted here."
Zurier comments: "Even when I put shapes or lines in a monochrome field, I am thinking of form in the largest sense -- as how something is made. Form, for me, means dealing with the total construction of a painting, not geometry or making a picture of something. I'm very interested in how compositional formats and motifs, and even incidents in a painting can trigger perceptual responses and associations. Even a horizontal line can be read as a landscape, but it's not my intention... I often make my own paints and grounds and I'm always discovering new things. My interest in materials involves looking for the right color and how the surface affects the way light is reflected or absorbed. I use various types of raw cotton and linen canvas and pay close attention to the different colors and textures of the weave. I also sometimes use pre-primed linen. I will also grind my own oil colors and I make tempera paint by mixing pigments into animal glues. I do a lot of research and make tests. It's part craft, part chemistry, and part like cooking. But as a rule, I try to keep the materials in a painting simple."
John Yau blogs about the exhibition Geneviève Asse: Paintings at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, on view through September 9, 2013.
Yau writes that "Although Asse works in the domain of monochrome painting and geometric abstraction, she is the opposite of such objective-minded artists as Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt. For all of her restraint and rigor, her paintings are intensely subjective, focusing on faint hints of light and barely legible traces of space. You don’t see Asse’s paintings; you adjust to them, as if you woke up in a dark, unfamiliar room. The faint, barely there glow hovers between dawn’s promise and nocturnal memory. Their precedents are J.W.W Turner and Giorgio Morandi. She makes Turner and, at times, even Morandi look heavy-handed."
Sultan writes: "Within these minimally painted, sensitively brushed paintings there is a sense of boundless space, of light shimmering through thin veils of color... The paintings are paradoxically both rich and hardly there. I sense great care in the making of the work, and yet there's a feeling of freedom in its brushwork, freedom that comes from practice and from close attention... One of the things I admired about this show was the variety of approaches to making a painting; Zurier explores paint and surface, with each painting having a character of its own."
Pocaro writes: "Binion’s larger, more rural works... stand out. These misty-toned 'Circuit Landscapes Nos. V and VI' are freer in their deference to the Modernist grid, retaining the more ridged works’ austere coloration but with enhanced emotional purchase. Like ethereal heirloom quilts on antiseptic walls, they hang unpretentiously without stretchers... By maintaining an ongoing dialogue with his roots in the agrarian south, Binion’s paintings are largely symbolic, achieving a spiritual resonance that defies the typically reductive materialism associated with East Coast minimalism. "
Brent Hallard interviews painter Suzie Idiens about her work.
Idiens comments: "Product manufacturing processes influence how the pieces are made, but not why they are made – it’s more a means of getting closer to singular form and colour. Initially softening the edges was instinctual, a way of giving the pieces a more sculpted, solid form. Once the high gloss finish was applied it then became a practical element of dealing with the visual continuity of the reflective surface by having a curved edge. As a result it does make them look rather plastic and manufactured, but they retain a certain (visual) weight about them. The deep relief gives the forms a tangible physicality, and the smooth reflective paint finish gives a luminous material quality to the colour, which in turn changes with the naturally transient effect of light and shadow. The paint finish is rather deceptive – though physically very thin it appears to have more depth, so that makes it intangible, gives it an otherness… rather like you try to look ‘into’ the object, but all you are really catching is what is being reflected in the piece."
David John posts an excerpt from an interview with Arne Glimcher where Glimcher recalls his final conversation with painter Agnes Martin.
Glimcher remarks: "I was there at the end of her life and she said ‘go down to the studio, there are three paintings. Hanging on the wall is the one I want to keep, I want you to destroy the other two.’ So I went down to the studio. The two paintings she wanted me to destroy were magnificent – absolutely perfect. The one on the wall was a very stormy painting, unlike anything that she had made since the 60s. I certainly didn’t want to destroy those two spectacular paintings but I did. I sliced them to ribbons and put them in the trash. When I came back. She said, 'did you do it?' I said, 'I did it.' And that was that. Our last conversation."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.